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Can't delete files/folders even though I am the owner/admin

Last response: in Windows 8
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February 19, 2013 12:08:38 AM

I've searched around a bit and I can't seem to find a discussion about my particular problem.

I cannot delete files or folders from the c: drive, even though I am logged in as Admin with full control and I am also the owner of the folder.
When I go to delete the folder (not just one in particular, happens with any folder/file), I get the "Are you sure you want to move this folder to the Recycle Bin?" prompt and click "Yes".
Then comes the "You'll need to provide administrator permission to delete this folder" and I click Continue, then the progress window pops up showing "moving x number of files to recycle bin" or something like that and gets to 100%, but the folder and all the files remain.
I also cannot rename or move the folder to another location, but I never receive and access denied prompt or anything like that. I can also still access the files after trying to delete them so I know its not just a placeholder left behind.
They only pop up window I've found that shows there is a problem is when I open the Advance Security Settings for the folder and attempt to change Owner, when I click "Change" the window says "Can't open access control editor. the activation requires a display name to be present under the CLSID key."
I tried a quick Google search of that but I couldn't find anything about Windows 8 or something else helpful.
I will also add that I can delete files/folders in Safe Mode with no trouble, but I am more concerned with the cause of the problem than the files themselves.

Any ideas? or am I looking at reinstalling?
February 19, 2013 5:08:38 PM

Just an update,

I have found that I can also log into the hidden admin account and delete files using that, but I still cannot access UAC settings. When I click on change user account control settings, I do not get an access denied or anything like that, simply nothing happens.
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February 23, 2013 11:44:19 AM

I'm having the exact same problem.
All I can find online is the odd person with the same problem and and forum posts like this with no replies.
I hate it when I get a problem no one else seems to have, I swear it wasn't doing this before - maybe an update has done it or something. It's doing my head in.
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February 24, 2013 10:21:10 AM

Found a workaround!!

Add this reg key:
http://www.askvg.com/add-take-ownership-option-in-file-...

It gives you a 'Take Ownership' option in the context menu - and this still works! Take ownership back of everything and voila! You have control again!

PS. It turns out the problem is CCleaner - performing a reg clean on Windows 8 causes these problems.
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February 26, 2013 7:21:26 AM

A workaround is nice but it's just putting a bandaid on a broken bone sticking out of the skin. You can't change any account settings at all including UAC settings or put files in any system folders including Program Files. I would like to find a fix for this issue as I have the same problem as well. I didn't use CCleaner when this issue started happening about 3-4 days ago. When I do use CCleaner I always make registry backups so just incase it was I restored 3 registry backups dating back as far as December of last year and yet the issue still persists. Please help figure out how to resolve this issue. It's really a nuissance.
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March 18, 2013 6:58:35 PM

Just a couple of hours ago I noticed my UAC is completely dysfunctional and this thread should be bought back up. I have exactly the same issue except I cant edit files on my secondary hard drives and some folders on my C drive.
Not sure if this was caused by a windows update which I also did today.
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March 18, 2013 11:02:27 PM

tankmehn said:

I have found that I can also log into the hidden admin account and delete files using that, but I still cannot access UAC settings. When I click on change user account control settings, I do not get an access denied or anything like that, simply nothing happens.

Exactly what is happening to me and I have additional symptoms:

  • When I run "services.msc" I see this error all over the place: <Failed to Read Description. Error Code: 2 >
  • My power options are non-existent/power configurations can't be found (red X).

  • My system runs fine otherwise. What the heck is happening?! :??: 
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    March 30, 2013 10:02:32 AM

    I think a recent Windows Update broke this. I am having the same issues...no options in Power Options as well as the inability to set UAC options, which is strange because I vividly remember switching mine from default to off just the other day.

    I also noticed I do not have the ability to run System Restore to revert back the windows update in question.
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    April 4, 2013 8:33:31 AM

    Im having exactly the same problem!!! what is going on?! please someone help!!
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    April 23, 2013 12:39:37 AM

    I was having the same issue. I made myself owner and still wouldn't let me delete the folders. I realized that I had to add myself to the permissions list as well: security, edit, add. and under advanced security settings, change permissions, make sure you click replace all child object permissions to be able to delete objects within the folder....Hope this helps/works...
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    April 23, 2013 1:23:25 AM

    Maybe im being a bit dumb but...Where do you find the initial security bit to your solution? cant seem to find it
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    Anonymous
    May 8, 2013 12:32:23 PM

    same problem here: administrator and cannot access user access control, cannot change time etc. Unless I disable UAC manually using a registry key, but then Metro apps stop working.

    Is there no solution?
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    May 9, 2013 1:00:55 AM

    This happen to me a few days ago, I had to restart then delete.
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    May 19, 2013 3:44:47 AM

    Same issue here , no power options available , cant change anything with the user accounts even though i'm the admin , cant delete an empty folder from C: drive even it pops us as its working on something , when trying to uninstall programs it says an error occurred - it may have been already uninstalled and the program is still there... Microsoft has really messed up this version of Windows , wish i could go back to the good old W7...

    I fixed the change of time and date through the bios as windows didn't let me so this might be a solution for someone with the same problem...
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    July 10, 2013 6:40:06 AM

    Just an update, eventually I just formatted and re-installed windows 8. Looks like there is no solution at this time for this problem.
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    September 23, 2013 2:05:11 PM

    I have exactly same problem.. a want to add that if you try use third-party soft like Windows 8 Manager (or by using regedit) and turn the UAC completely, then the system response is ok and you can do everything what is normally broken... obviously.. so it has to be something with UAC and some missing string that defines CLSID of your default user account with admin privileges - I'm trying to find where exactly.. I hope that somebody will be able to find solution faster than me.. I'm stucked in this mess two weeks already and don't want to do clean install again (that would be maybe fifth or sixth clean install of Win8 caused by "bug with no solution")

    PS: I think that this behaviour started right after installation and uninstallation of MS Visual Studio 2013 Express (RC)

    Edit: it's not right said that the user account don't have admin rights, you can for example delete, rename system etc. files in third party file manager like TCMD... this "no admin" behaviour is conected only with windows controll pannel UI (all run as admin buttons) and windows explorer...
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    October 12, 2013 3:28:51 PM

    It could be repaired by making in place upgrade (repair install) while keeping all system settings, personal files and installed apps intact... only thing you'll have to do is install all windows updates again.. even so it is worth the shot - definitely not as depressing as complete system reinstall...
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    November 2, 2013 2:24:44 PM

    You don't need to reinstall windows or anything super complicated like that.

    Here's what you need to do. (Note that this also works for the filename too long to delete problem)
    Using the following commands in an elevated command prompt, make a new empty directory and use it to overwrite the file you want to delete than delete both directories. Not sure if this would work with a file, probably would if you just made a blank file in a text editor and then changed the file extension to match what you're deleting.

    open a cmd prompt as admin (windows+x in win 8 and pick command prompt (Admin) or in other versions hit the windows button and search cmd then right click cmd and click run as administrator. then type these commands. (For example purposes we'll say I'm trying to delete a folder named undeletable in my user folder, just replace C:\Users\JJ\Undeletable with the folder you want to delete, if there are spaces in the directory put the directory in quotes, i.e. "C:\Program Files\undeletable Program" )

    mkdir c:\emptyDir
    robocopy c:\emptyDir C:\Users\JJ\Undeletable /s /mir
    rmdir C:\Users\JJ\Undeletable /S /Q

    repeat the process for any other folders or files you need to delete then delete the empty directory with this
    rmdir C:\emptyDir

    And ta da it works like magic :) 

    If for some reason it doesn't work try it in the recovery console. For windows 7 and below this requires a windows install disk or recovery disk. You can make a recovery disk in windows 7, can't remember how off the the of my head. boot into the install disk and click repair your computer and cancel any automatic repairs that pop up. Then select command prompt. In windows 8.1 (probably 8 too) you can sign out, then at the login screen click the power button then hold shift and click restart. A recovery option screen should show up, click trouble shoot → advanced settings → command prompt. It will now restart to the command prompt. Then before running the commands run this

    diskpart (a dos program called diskpart will open)
    list volumes
    (Take note of the path that the recovery console sees windows at. If your c drive doesn't have a volume label/name hopefully you at least know what size it is and go off that)
    Once you've figured out the correct drive letter paths type...
    exit and hit enter

    now run the robocopy commands with the adjusted drive letters and all should be well with the world.

    That should do it one way or another.
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    November 15, 2013 4:24:49 PM

    Same problem here! Happenned to me on Win8 x64. Then i've done a clean install of Win8.1 x64. After a week and after I updated my AMD Radeon HD 6990M drivers, it happenned again. I only found this thread about this issue. I suspect of AMD Uninstall Utility which is an separate program for cleaning ALL the AMD software, graphics drivers, chipset drivers, every AMD thing, that I ran after the normal AMD uninstall. I've read that it could damage Windows. But since i've done some Win Updates yesterday and you guys suspect of a broken update I don't know what to think anymore.

    Still no fix? All the fixes here seem like a "bandage" rather than an actual solution. I don't want specifically to delete read-only files, I want to do everything I should be able to do.

    It seems like that everything that "passes" through UAC, and that needs admin control of Windows simply doesn't work. Energy options vanished and I have a laptop, so I can't keep using this Windows like this. I can't even install .net Framework after this damn thing bugs out, because it goes through UAC, even if I have the UAC warnings off. That just turns of the warnings, keeping UAC working but without warnings. UAC is a major part of Windows system and now it bugs and stops working. lol Unbelievable!

    I'm going to search for a solution for 5 more minutes and then I'll reinstall Windows 7 x64. This Windows 8 is a mess. Not worth it.
    My friend has more problems than I do on it.

    Well, just for this to be indexed @ Google and for people to find this when thinking in buying Windows 8: DON'T INSTALL WINDOWS 8 BECAUSE IT'S A MESS. REMEMBER WIN95?.......(yes, it's as bad as that)

    I know that this won't help this thread to get to the first results on Google Search for "Windows 8 problems", but I would love that it would. :s
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    November 15, 2013 4:26:36 PM

    (Plus: I can't restore the system to a previous state!...)
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    November 26, 2013 3:41:57 PM

    hi,

    i have the same problem i think on my new computer: i cannot choose what my power button does in control panel and i cannot deselect file associations for windows media player. i am logged in as administrator.

    this OS is unfriendly
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    November 26, 2013 4:00:40 PM

    I finally determined that my issue, too, was caused by running the AMD Uninstall Utility, which is incompatible with Windows 8. Maybe incompatible is a nice word — it really gaffes things up SEVERELY. I think AMD removed this tool from their download site, but if you see it, and you're running Win8, avoid it like the plague.

    My solution was to re-install Windows, unfortunately, and avoid above tool.

    For what it's worth, I run CCleaner on a monthly basis and it doesn't cause any problems.

    Good luck.
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    December 8, 2013 7:19:31 PM

    soldatz said:
    I finally determined that my issue, too, was caused by running the AMD Uninstall Utility, which is incompatible with Windows 8. Maybe incompatible is a nice word — it really gaffes things up SEVERELY. I think AMD removed this tool from their download site, but if you see it, and you're running Win8, avoid it like the plague.

    My solution was to re-install Windows, unfortunately, and avoid above tool.

    For what it's worth, I run CCleaner on a monthly basis and it doesn't cause any problems.

    Good luck.


    Same here... AMD Uninstall Utility. re-installed Windows 8.1 . Also my offered Solution: Do not use AMD Uninstall Utility w/windows 8 at least for now. ;-]
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    December 20, 2013 4:22:11 AM

    As to having the same problem like @yakatyak and as most of you guys here, it was also, I believed caused by the AMD Uninstall Utility. :(  I recommend anyone reading this thread to avoid that application as of now. I was hoping AMD will try to fix this problem though.

    I will try to contact AMD through their support channels hoping they will get to see this.
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    February 13, 2014 12:20:32 AM

    Hi

    This is what i did to delete the folder and its subfolders when i got a message "cannot delete folder".

    I moved the folder to a different location(right click,cut).
    Pasted it to a different location and then deleted it.

    This worked for me.
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    March 4, 2014 12:51:02 PM

    If you find you can't delete a folder then that means that you have a folder
    that has the same name so find it and if it has anything in it just move it
    to your desktop then you can delete both folders
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    March 17, 2014 12:11:40 PM

    After all the solutions offered...the nice and easy one works best...thank you xx


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    March 31, 2014 7:00:29 AM

    The Long Path Tool is definitely must have program that can take care of error messages like path too long, filename too long and filename is too long.
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    June 3, 2014 11:38:28 AM

    The main reason behind this is that the explorer.exe process locks files that are in use, effectively preventing you from deleting them. Usually, these files should not be touched, but sometimes, situations arise when you really need to erase some troublesome ones.

    Fortunately, there are a few easy solutions to delete those files.


    Solution #1: Kill explorer.exe
    Solution #2: Use The Windows Recovery Console
    Solution #3: Use unlocker


    More details and reference:

    http://www.techproceed.com/2014/05/how-to-delete-undele...
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    June 12, 2014 8:32:10 PM

    I just dealt with this problem, got to the login screen hold shot click restart and enter safe mode. One in safe mode I was able to delete the file. when not in safe mode I had the same problem as you.
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    June 15, 2014 6:44:26 PM

    When all else fails including hours on the phone with tech support and all hope is lost, simply download the file delete program at the website below and it WILL delete the problem file.
    .
    http://www.purgeie.com/delinv/dldelinv.htm
    .
    It is a trialware program that allows up to three deletions before a subscription is required. However, the subscription is slightly more than $25 which is well worth the price.
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    July 4, 2014 5:02:00 AM

    Try microsoft fixit first (link above in this thread), it could easily be just the corrupted recycle bin.

    For me however, the problem was write caching (probably a bad disk or something wrong with windows).
    To disable write caching (win7), go to device manager, find your disk drive, open its properties and the "Policies" tab, and un-check write-caching from there.

    Note that if you tried this and it didn't help, you should turn caching back on because it improves performance a bit. Disabling it made all my "file in use" problems go away though.
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    2 minutes ago

    You can use LongPathTool as well, it works!
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    !